The midday slump might be something that gets you every day, or maybe just every so often - either way it really drains your productivity for the rest of the day. Here are my top tips to avoid midday fatigue.
1. Snack the right way
A mid afternoon snack can be really helpful in keeping your mental clarity. A fat and/or protein rich snack can help tide you over until dinner and stop you over eating come dinner time. However, if you are grazing throughout the afternoon, rather than having a proper snack, this could be the reason for your fatigue. When you eat your blood supply to your digestive organs increases, this is so that the blood can help the organs function more effectively but also to help carry the nutrients away to other parts of the body. When the blood flow increases to your digestive organs it takes the blood flow from other parts of your body and this can leave you feeling fatigued. If you are snacking all day or having meals that are far too large and take a long time to digest then blood flow can be disrupted for too long or too often. Try having breakfast, followed by a small 10 am snack, a medium-sized around 1 pm lunch and then a 4 pm snack. Play around with meal sizes and eating times to see if this makes a difference to your mental clarity.
Great snack options include: hard boiled eggs, handful of nuts and seeds, some raw baking, small tin of fish, avo on toast, veggies and hummus, or a piece of fruit. My orange slice is sweet enough to give you a bit of a pick-me-up, but also full of nourishing fats and fibre to help you feel full and satisfied.
2. Balance your blood sugar
Blood sugar levels that rollercoaster all day leave you feeling exhausted. Blood sugar should remain relatively even throughout the day, with only small and gradual increases and decreases. Large changes in blood sugar cause fatigue, hunger and lack of concentration and can be avoided by consuming low GI foods and by consuming carbohydrate-rich foods with some fat, protein and fibre to slow the effects. Examples of foods that will dramatically increase blood sugar levels are; pure fruit juice, a chocolate bar, or a blueberry muffin made from white flour. Examples of foods which help to balance your blood sugar include; whole grain oat porridge with peanut butter and fruit, chicken salad with roast sweet potato, or a blueberry muffin made with a combination of whole gain spelt and almond flour.
3. You're addicted to caffeine
A problem I see often is that people can't function without caffeine, as soon as their morning mocha has worn off they are asleep at their desks. It may be time to wean yourself off caffeine, or at least reduce it and let your body get used to functioning well without it. Instead of reaching for another coffee which is likely to disrupt your sleep, adding to your fatigue - you can reach for herbal tea, vegetable juice or plain water. Click here more information about how to tame your caffeine addiction.
4. Drink more water
Your brain can't function without water, so drink up! Your mid-afternoon headache is most likely your brain signalling to you that it needs some water. Take a walk around the block and drink a litre of water and you will be amazing at how refreshed you feel.
5. Just take a nap
Your body does naturally have a lull around 2-3pm, that's why so many cultures have the traditional siesta. Take a 20-30 minute nap after lunch and see how much more refreshed you feel in the afternoon. But make sure you set a timer, any longer and you will fall into a deep sleep and wake feeling way worse than before.